A few weekends back Chris, our friend Ryan, and I made our way out to Indio for Opening Day at Empire Polo. I’m sure we have all seen “Pretty Woman” and have an idea of what Polo must be like; beautiful clothes, big hats, plenty of champagne, divot stomps, and being generally boujee. I am here to tell you that Hollywood certainly didn’t get it totally wront in their portrayl of polo.
First things first, there are 2 ways to polo:
1. VIP tickets which include a table for your party, plenty of shade, bars, food, and of course, the fabulous outfits.
2. Tailgating with all your friends which means you back your car right up to the fields and BYOB. The tailgate crowd was definitely dressed for a more casual afternoon.
We opted for VIP which runs $25 per person and includes parking. There is plenty of shade (which I loved) and there are bars serving Bloody Marys, beer, wine, and of course, bubbles. If a snack is part of the day VIP has you covered with pizza delivery, cheese plates, burgers, salads, and even dessert. We ordered a bottle of champagne which will run you $40 (not bad) and a little snack towards the end of the day.
There are 2 matches each Sunday with a half-time divot stomp during each match. I feel like the early game is a bit more casual while the late game is “the game” if you know what I mean (again, I know nothing about polo other than Prince William plays). During the late game the half-time divot stomp is a “Champagne Divot Stomp” and those guests in VIP are provided a glass of champagne to take to the field (yup, just like Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman”).
Opening Day is also “Hat Day” at Empire Polo and let me tell you, these women were not messing around! I clearly played it safe with my boater hat since I wasn’t sure how into it the crowd would be. There were HUGE hats with stripes, flowers, even fascinators a la the Royals…I had major hat envy! Towards the end of the day there was a hat contest and the winners received prizes from local hotels and restaurants. While there was some amazing hat fashion many of the spectators opted for casual outfits including flats or flat sandals (heels are a bad idea as you spend a lot of time walking on the grass). There were also plenty of people in jeans or shorts for the warm day. Those who opted for tailgating were especially casual in NFL jerseys, tee shirts, flip flops, and sneakers.
All in all we had a great time watching the ponies, the fashion, and enjoying a boujee Sunday at the Polo Fields. I highly recommend checking out a match or two if you have the opportunity, it was an experience I can’t wait to have again!